Summary: Change is not the devil...in fact God is into "new".
January 19, 2003
1After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. 3In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, ?waiting for the moving of the waters; 4for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted. 5A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
6When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said* to him, "Do you wish to get well?" 7The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me." 8Jesus said* to him, "Get up, pick up your pallet and walk." 9Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.
Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, "It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet." 11But he answered them, "He who made me well was the one who said to me, ’Pick up your pallet and walk.’" 12They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, ’Pick up your pallet and walk’?" 13But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place.
14Afterward Jesus found* him in the temple and said to him, "Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you." 15The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. John 5.1-16 (NASB)
When John the beloved apostle wrote this Gospel account he had a specific purpose in view. That purpose was not to tell a story from beginning to end, but to show the meaning of that story. It wasn’t chronology, but theology, our thoughts of God - who He is.
John wrote to help us understand that Jesus is the Lord God. The way he does that in this incident is to re-tell the conflict Jesus had with the Jewish religious leaders over rituals and traditions. Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath; the traditionalists in the group didn’t like the change.
We have to admit, most of us don’t like changes. Mark Twain once said:
The only person who likes change is a wet baby.
In fact most Americans won’t change even if the results are good. According to a survey sometime back:
Percentage of Americans who would change a bad habit if they could: 45
Who would change their wealth: 64
Who would change their weight: 51
Who would change their intelligence: 32
Change is not the devil. In fact God is into change - new! Consider all these scripture verses which mention God’s view of "new"…
Also if you bring a grain offering of early ripened things to the LORD, you shall bring fresh heads of grain roasted in the fire, grits of new growth, for the grain offering of your early ripened things.
’My glory is ever new with me,
Sing to Him a new song;
And over our doors are all choice fruits, Both new and old,
Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength;
And let the peoples gain new strength;
Now I declare new things;
And you will be called by a new name
23They [mercies] are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
26"Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
38"But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.
20And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.
34"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
7Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump,
17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.